There’s one requirement for outdoor spaces in Arizona: shade. When we took on this remodel and renovation project for a client (which included all spaces, indoors and out, pool included) adding shade was at the top of my list.
Yeah, if someone wants to pretend to “be outdoorsy,” the back of their house can drop off into a fire pit with no sun protection. Otherwise, it’s rare that I won’t immediately recommend bumping out a back porch so it’s at least 15-20 feet deep.
Here’s this one after getting its extensions but before the dye job. (And the pool before botox. Read more about it here.)
Extending the ramada immediately added 900 square feet of living space onto the house, and the owners, who truly do enjoy outdoor living, use every bit of it.
When I design your landscape I might repaint your living room, too.
Because when half of your living room is outside, it needs to go with the inside. Charcoal doesn’t seem like the natural choice in the desert, but in this case, it basically disappears. You look past it to the swinging sofa beds, and who doesn’t want to spend every waking minute in a swinging sofa bed?
Look at the back of this long indoor living room, too, and you’ll see the Catalina stone wall transitions smoothly from indoors to out. (It’s also incorporated into the steppingstones in the front and back of the house.)
You’ll notice that the long indoor living room isn’t treated as one big space, but broken up into living areas that invite intimate interactions.
I do that with outdoor space, too. The porch is broken in three.
There are two sitting areas one with chairs and the other with the sofa swings.
Sometimes you want to sit up and have a conversation and other times you want to lounge and snooze.
The third space is an outdoor dining room.
It’s easy enough to subdivide a big room into smaller rooms without walls or screens. One of my favorite techniques is adding a carpet or throw rug that defines the area. This is especially important in a linear space like this. Dividing it up stops the space from looking like a bowling alley.
There’s a progression between slightly harder surfaces in the cocktail lounge vs. the comfy throws and cushions in the swings. They’re still comfortable—don’t get me wrong. They just serve different purposes.
So much going on in such a relatively small space, but it works, because the style remains the same throughout.
Subdividing & Connecting Space: Three Tips
· Continue finishings from indoors to outside
· Use outdoor rugs to create “rooms”
· Design separate seating areas to break up long, skinny spaces. Create chatting, dining, and lounging areas—any type of space with a center focal point surrounded by seating